March 26, 2004

'Town meetings' will focus on research

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The first of two Southern Illinois University Carbondale "town meetings" focusing on research will take place from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, April 5, in Ballroom B of the Student Center on the SIUC campus. The second is set for Friday, April 9, at the University's School of Medicine in Springfield.

"This is a unique opportunity for researchers to hear about how the University is doing overall and, more importantly, to discuss issues of importance to them and provide feedback on things we are doing," said Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Dean John A. Koropchak.

"Since research is an important element in SIUC's long-range vision and long-range planning as articulated through Southern@150, I thought it was important to have a meeting where people could discuss their ideas and help us develop the best plans for how to achieve that goal. Reaching a collective goal is dependent on the accumulated individual activities of us all."

Refreshments will be available at 3 p.m. before the Carbondale meeting gets under way. The meeting's first 30 minutes will include an overview of research by Koropchak, presentations by Associate Dean David L. Wilson on graduate students and enrollments and Associate Vice Chancellor Prudence M. Rice on activities and issues within the Office of Research Development and Administration. Koropchak will provide a short summary of his unit's overall strategic plan.

A question-and-answer session, moderated by Faculty Senate President Kimberly A. Espy, will follow, focusing on interdisciplinary activities, infrastructure and communication. The meeting will conclude with an open forum, where those attending may bring up any topic for discussion.

Koropchak said depending on how it goes, the research town meeting could become an annual fixture at SIUC.

"This is an experiment," he said. "I honestly don't know how it's going to work out, but I'm hoping that we can have good discussions, provide good information, get valuable feedback and have everyone leave the meeting with an optimistic outlook for the future."

In addition to Koropchak's office, the Faculty Senate, Graduate Council, Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Xi are sponsoring the event.